Alcoholic Leaving Thailand
Alcoholic Leaving Phuket
Firstly I would like to thank you Mr. Stickman for setting up and maintaining such an entertaining web site, I would also like to thank all the people who have written the many submissions I have had the pleasure of reading.
In 2001 after working in what is considered a good career in the City of London for eleven years and following a rather upsetting relationship break up, I found myself thinking (at the time) that I was suffering from depression. I decided to drop everything and go abroad looking for something exciting to happen and get involved in some new adventures. The first county I went to was Australia, where I spent a year and did the usual backpacker things, learnt to dive, travelled around, worked for a while, stayed in hostels etc. Australia was quite enjoyable, although it wasn't the new exciting adventure I was looking for, I found it very similar to being in England only it's a lot bigger, there's more to see and the weather is slightly better. In January 2002 I decided to return to England only I would go via Thailand and spend a month there as I had heard interesting stories from fellow travelers whilst in Australia.
Arriving in Bangkok was certainly an eye opener, up until that point I had had the good fortune to have visited a number of countries, although I had never seen or felt anything like this before.
Despite reading the LP guide to Thailand, I really didn't have a clue and on the first day I found myself being fleeced by a Bangkok tuktuk driver and that evening got drunk and ended up having my first experience with a BG. The next day I felt quite
a lot of shame due to the fact that although I had experienced my fair share of immorality, up until that point (I was 31 at the time) I had not ever paid for sex before. Needless to say my sense of shame didn't last very long, as that same
day myself and an Aussie bloke I had made friends with took a minibus to Pattaya and that evening I ended up short timing two BGs, the first was awful although the second seemed nice. I spent about four days in Pattaya drinking and barfining girls
all over the show, including the second "nice girl" I met on the first evening. I then flew to Ko Samui and spent around a week there, I found Samui a little dull and decided to try Phuket. On arriving in Phuket I mistakenly spent my
first night in Phuket Town, which I found disappointing, confusing and boring. The following morning I discovered Patong and I found exactly what I was looking for and spent the remainder of my holiday there. I know Patong isn't for everyone
but I loved it. I spent over two wonderful weeks in Patong and in that time got in a number of adventures, including drinking heavily in the evening and barfining girls. There was one girl (who I will refer to as Lek) who I liked very much and
I ended up spending a lot of time with her. I thought she a was little different, although I was very careful, by that time I knew the score and I have always been quite vigilant with girls generally.
I left Thailand and returned to England in February 2002, at the time I felt a little disappointed I had spent so much time in Australia and so little time in Thailand. I made a decision to attempt to regain what I had originally left behind, such as my career, somewhere reasonably nice to live etc. With regard to reinstating my career, sadly it didn't work out. In the time I had been away 9/11 had happened, which had an enormous impact on the industry I had been involved in and not being around when it occurred didn't help, amongst other reasons. Thailand was constantly on my mind and I started to go through this depression I had felt a couple of years earlier. After spending seven months back in England I came into some money and decided rather than spend it quickly in "rip off Britain" (as it is sometimes known) I would return to Thailand, spend some time there and see what happens.
September 2002 I arrived back in Patong and felt a huge rush of excitement running over me, I was back! The same evening I was wandering around drunk on Soi Bangla when I heard a Thai female voice shout "Hey EGG". I turned around and it was Lek. I was happy to see her and extremely flattered she remembered my name, obviously I now know that is one of their clever tricks. I bar fined her and we spent a month together (on and off), she genuinely seemed delighted I returned. After a while I told her I couldn't continue paying her as I didn't have a lot of money and I wanted to stay in Thailand a long time. She suggested that she stayed with me when she didn't have a customer and also at her suggestion that now and again that I "take lady". I was strangely flattered by this and told her I would think about things for a few days, there was also a lot of other things I needed to think about.
I wanted and needed to do something constructive with my time in Thailand, I didn't just want to just loaf around all day with hangovers and BG's. I made a decision (whilst drunk) that I would attempt to become a scuba divemaster / instructor, then I would give up drinking and remain in Thailand indefinitely! I had been drinking heavily and using drugs off and on, for over ten years, although I wisely decided to knock drugs on the head once and for all before I came to Thailand. I wasn't certain but I suspected I might possibly be an alcoholic and thought this new long term plan of mine could sort things out once and for all. I told Lek my idea (minus the stopping drinking) and decided to take her up on her offer, however prior to putting this plan into action I wanted to travel alone around Thailand for a month or so and visit a few of the places I hadn't seen on my previous trip.
As a result I left Phuket for a month and went to Ko Pha Nnan, Bangkok, Kanchanaburi and Chiang Mai. I had a wonderful time and I particularly enjoyed travelling on the second class overnight sleeper trains, I don't know why. I'm not particularly interested in trains, I just found it relaxing and good fun.
Arriving back in Phuket in November 2002 I set about putting my plan into action, I got a nice apartment and Lek kind of moved in, although she didn't have any stuff. As mentioned above she told me she would stay with me unless bar fined and every
night for the first month she came back, I dreaded how I would feel when eventually she would not return, but when it happened I didn't fell all that bad, which was a relief. I started my scuba divemaster course which I enjoyed, although
I found it quite hard work at the beginning, it got a lot easier when I began to try and get a proper night's sleep and started what I considered to be "controlled" drinking. Half way through my course I returned to England just
for Christmas and New Year where I got involved in a sad drunken row with my family.
I returned to Thailand in early January 2003 vowing never to return to England again. Later that January I met a tourist girl from Finland on the dive boat where I was being trained, we had a fling, she was keen to continue the relationship, due to the fact she was a travel agent in Helsinki she could return to Phuket pretty much on a monthly basis. I was very fond of Lek but I made the decision that a monogamous relationship with the Finnish girl (who I will refer to as Mel) was a more sensible and less complicated route than being involved with a working BG. When I told Lek she appeared to be devastated and caused a huge scene at the apartment complex where I lived, screaming things like "you kill my heart" at the top of her voice at 03.00am!
At the end of January I completed my divemaster course and by the beginning of April 2003 I was an instructor, for a short period of time I felt extremely content although I decided to amend my earlier plan and not stop drinking. I thought I couldn't possibly be an alcoholic because I had successfully passed all the instructor exams. This was where my plan had started to fall apart, I hardly got any work, for reasons such as too many instructors, too few students, SARS, general low season and false promises. If I'm honest, even if everything had worked out regarding employment, it still would not have been viable long term for me with issues such as no work permit, no health insurance, general future uncertainty and I had been spending, on average over 70,000 baht a month. It was at this point that I knew my long term aim of staying in Thailand was doomed.
Mel had been visiting me on a monthly basis and wanted me to go and make a life with her in Finland, I really didn't want to go, but I was running out of money and had burnt a lot of bridges in England. As a result I left Thailand for the last time (to date) in October 2003 and moved to Helsinki. I was very unhappy there, I was bored, had no job and Thailand was on my mind constantly. Mel was trying to control my drinking which was getting out of hand, I was having regular blackouts and behaving very inappropriately. In July 2004 I got in a fight, badly hurt someone I knew (another English bloke) and the police got involved. Understandably Mel had had enough and I left Finland very quickly.
I decided to return to England for a quick "pit stop" to sort a few things out (mainly money) before returning to Thailand. Arriving in England my family had arranged for me to attend a very famous addiction hospital in London and begged me to attend, which I agreed. After being in the hospital for a couple of days I realised I was an alcoholic and learnt that it is an incurable and progressive disease.
March 2005, eight months later, still sober a day at a time, still in England and still think about Thailand all the time. I have learnt it's possible (and likely) for an addict, as well as their drug of choice, to get addicted to people, places and things, therefore I think it's safe to say Thailand is a big part of my secondary addiction.
One of my biggest regrets was not at least trying to get sober in Thailand. An English friend of mine I met Thailand, who I saw again recently in a support meeting here in London is a recovering drug addict and he managed to get clean in Bangkok, apparently the support in Thailand is very good.
I think it would be dangerous for me to think that the year I spent in Thailand was the best time of my life, however it was without question the most exciting.
I still keep in touch with both Lek and Mel from time to time.
Maybe I will come to Thailand again one day, but not just yet.